- Development of novel imaging modalities and nanotechnologies for detecting tumors and discerning metrics of growth, aggressiveness, and drug response, as well as drug delivery to tumors
- Utilization of imaging tools to uncover mechanisms contributing to tumor pathogenesis and which facilitate treatment
- Translation of new imaging approaches to address unmet clinical needs and improve patient care
The overarching goal of the Cancer Imaging Program is to utilize imaging for basic discoveries of carcinogenic mechanisms and therapeutic development that will translate into improved patient care.
To provide structure and promote cohesion within the larger program, investigators are organized into four scientific focus areas that address key questions in cancer research and reflect specific areas of expertise of the Program's membership.
- Imaging of the Tumor Microenvironment: This focus group engages members who study the cancer microenvironment with the goal of identifying new markers and paradigms for drug targeting or cancer detection. This includes development of tools to assess the extent of tumor cell migration into surrounding host tissues for clinical assessment of disease dissemination.
- Image-Guided Therapies: Members of this focus group develop novel approaches for monitoring cancer treatment and evaluating efficacy in vivo and ultimately in patients. These efforts range from clever utilization of conventional imaging tools for rapid clinical translation to developing targeted imaging agents and the tools for assessing drug delivery.
- Nanotechnology for Imaging and Drug Delivery: Members of this focus group develop nanodevices that impact many aspects of cancer imaging and treatment such as gene transfer and drug delivery. Efforts in this group include utilization of metallic nanoparticles to specifically deliver contrast agents to disease sites.
- Stem Cell Imaging: This focus group utilizes imaging approaches to study the biology of stem cells in vivo, for instance in the therapeutic setting, and to observe cancer stem cells. Members investigate the interactions between stem cells and their microenvironment and have developed imaging techniques to track stem cell homing, engraftment, proliferation, and differentiation.